Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cold snap

Our current cold apocalypse in Minnesota—apocalypse according to the weather folks—is brutal.  On Monday the high temperature is supposed to be -15 and the temperature is not supposed to get above zero until Wednesday.  A person can’t live in Minnesota for long without having stories of frigid weather.  Minnesotans like to joke that this weather keeps the population of the state lower.  And some of us actually like it—my wife Amy told me today that she would rather have -25 than 100 with high dew points. 

Most Minnesotans have stories about brutal cold weather.  I remember the terrible storm of January 1973.  It was the type of storm where the word, "the" is put in front of it.  If this storm was a hurricane it would have received a name.  It was the worst snow storm I ever remember.  The kids in Worthington were sent home from school.  I then stayed indoors for practically two days straight.  The temperature went down to -30 with the windchill going to -80.  My family eventually got cabin fever, so we walked about five houses down to the Hudsons for a visit.  By the time I walked 100 yards I had icicles hanging from my eye lashes.  The power in our house went out, and my family stayed warm by sitting next to a space heater in the basement.

The coldest I’ve ever personally experienced was in December 1983.  The temperature hit -40.  My family was going to a production at Northrup Auditorium.  My Dad unfortunately parked our car a long ways away, and unfortunately I forgot a hat—not surprising for a sophomore in college.  I will never forget how cold my ears became on that half mile walk.  I still remember.  I developed a new respect for the cold weather that winter.  I remember a story of a runner getting frost because he went for a run while wearing shorts.  At that weather any exposed skin will freeze quickly.  I feel like I’m lucky my ears didn’t fall off.

I remember during one cold snap in January 1988 when my car wouldn’t stop.  Triple A was overwhelmed with calls, and I didn’t know anyone who could jump my car.  A friend of mine suggested taking the battery out of my car and warming it up in the apartment where I lived.  Fortunately my car eventually started.

This is turning into a real Minnesota winter.  By the time this cold snap is over we will have more days the temp has gone below zero since 2009.  If the forecast is correct we’ll have the lowest temperature since 1996.  And winter is a long ways from being over.
We can’t change the weather, so we might as well enjoy the moments.  Even if the moments are painfully cold.

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